Renault has upped its ante in the hot hatch crowd with the introduction of the Clio Renaultsport (RS) in South Africa.
New Renault Clio RS now in SA
According to the French carmaker the new Clio RS benefits directly from Renault's presence in F1 in the form of a rear air diffuser, a ground-breaking first in this segment and directly derived from motor racing's premier championship.
In associatios with the front wing extractor vents, this feature apparently "guarantees" outstanding aerodynamic performance.
Sportier than ever, the new Clio RS is powered by its predecessor's normally-aspirated 2.0-litre 16V engine. Power has been increased to 145 kW at 7 250 r/min - this is equivalent to 72 kW per litre, which Renault claims is the highest specific power output of its category.
Torque is 215 Nm at 5 550 r/min.
The engine is coupled with a closer ratio six-speed gearbox featuring shorter gears.
Acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h takes a mere 6.9 seconds, while the kilometre standing start is covered in just 27.5 seconds. Top speed is 215 km/h.
Another key feature is the double-axis strut system which will provide precise handling and perfect balance. Derived from Mégane RS, the Clio RS's brakes and Brembo callipers ensure good stopping power.
The sporty character of Clio RS is unmistakably echoed by its design, both inside and out. The revised body design accentuates Clio 3's inherent racy, muscular lines.
There are wider front and rear wings, profiled side skirts and a semi-rigid under-bumper splitter with extractor vents and diffuser.
It comes with large tyres (215/45) and 17-inch light alloy wheels which conceal the Brembo brake callipers and big discs.
The engine has necessitated wide, bumper-mounted air intakes for improved engine cooling.
The front and rear bumpers, side protective mouldings and exterior mirrors are all body-coloured, while the door handles are in satin-finish chrome.
Furthermore there are larger front wings (+42mm) designed to house the wider track and generously-dimensioned tyres.
The standard Clio III floor - which incorporates a well for the spare wheel - has been replaced by a flat panel designed to free up space for the exhaust silencer and twin-rear tailpipes.